Scoop has an Ethical Paywall
Work smarter with a Pro licence Learn More

Video | Agriculture | Confidence | Economy | Energy | Employment | Finance | Media | Property | RBNZ | Science | SOEs | Tax | Technology | Telecoms | Tourism | Transport | Search


Hundreds Of Drivers Lodging Backpay Claims With Uber

Hundreds of Uber drivers who say they’re owed thousands of dollars in backpay by Uber have today begun submitting their claims to the Employment Relations Authority. FIRST Union, the union representing these drivers, says the claims will continue to be lodged over the coming weeks and months.

This follows FIRST Union and E tū recently winning an Employment Court declaration on behalf of four drivers that they are employees of the company, not 'customers’, as Uber argued, and therefore are entitled to rights and protections in employment law including the minimum wage and holidays. At the moment, drivers are only paid for approximately half of their hours with Uber, meaning they often end up receiving on average less than the minimum wage, said Anita Rosentreter, FIRST Union spokesperson.

Hundreds of Uber drivers have joined FIRST Union since the Court judgment came out and Ms Rosentreter says pursuing backpay together is one of the first collective actions they are taking.

"It’s incredible to be able to support Uber drivers to start using their most powerful tool as workers - collective action," said Ms Rosentreter.

"The recent Court win has emboldened drivers and exercising their rights as workers will continue to build their power."

For Eve Lima, who has been driving for Uber for six and a half years, the backpay would be significant, both personally and financially.

"This would mean a lot for drivers, especially those of us with families who have been driving full-time for years and putting in long hours constantly as our main job," said Ms Lima.

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading

Are you getting our free newsletter?

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.

"As a driver, you have to work around 'promos' like getting a certain number of riders within a certain time frame and you can spend hours driving around looking for riders only to miss the deadline and go home after a full day's work without the bonus you needed to make ends meet."

"I'm just happy and excited to finally be working together with other drivers to get what we're owed, because for so long we have all been struggling with the same problems on our own - not any more."

Uber drivers who have not yet joined FIRST Union are being encouraged to do so as soon as possible, so they do not miss out on money they might be owed due to the six-year statute of limitation.

"This multi-billion-dollar company has been built on stolen wages from workers all over the world and we are putting a stop to that in Aotearoa," said Ms Rosentreter.

"The sooner we get your claim in, the better, and right now we’re operating on a first-in-first-served basis. Drivers can sign up on our website - just look for the Uber driver tab at the top of the homepage."

Meanwhile, Uber has stated publicly it will appeal the Employment Court judgment but whether they get to is a decision for the Court of Appeal. Ms Rosentreter says she is confident that the ruling would be upheld on appeal given it is consistent with others from similar jurisdictions around the world.

© Scoop Media

Advertisement - scroll to continue reading
Business Headlines | Sci-Tech Headlines


Join Our Free Newsletter

Subscribe to Scoop’s 'The Catch Up' our free weekly newsletter sent to your inbox every Monday with stories from across our network.